Gingerbread Crumb Coffee Cake

After years of trial and error, I have finally – finally – found the perfect gingerbread. I love gingerbread. I eat it year round, it’s so good. I have an excellent soft gingerbread cookie recipe that I rely on, but I’ve never quite been happy with the cake-style gingerbreads that I’ve tried. None of them were quite right. But then I happened upon Gingerbread Crumb Cake at Cookie Monster Cooking and I knew it was a game changer.

Sadly, nothing is perfect at first glance. I had a couple of challenges to overcome with this recipe – it’s use of buttermilk (since we’ve got two lactose intolerant adults in the house) and it’s use of melted butter. I hate recipes that call for melted butter, mostly because I’m just lazy. I hate melting butter. So I set out to axe that. I also wanted a softer crumb, so I opted to use the crumb I used on my classic Crumb Coffee Cake, and just added the recommended spices to it. Also, no messing with melted butter there either. I also increased the spices in the recipe – I like aggressive spices in my gingerbread!

So, with modifications, here’s what I ended up with –

Crumb Topping

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup butter

Cake

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup molasses

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 cup soy milk

For the crumb topping, mix all of the dry ingredients. Then cut in the butter with your fingers until the mix resembles wet sand. Set aside.

For the cake, cream the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg and molasses until incorporated. Add all of the dry ingredients and mix until the batter has come together, then add the soy milk. Pour into a 9-inch round cake pan and top evenly with the crumb topping.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until a knife comes out clean. Tastes great either warm or at room temperature. I think I’ll make this again on New Year’s Day – it’s a great crumb cake!

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A Post-Thanksgiving Note

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving day yesterday, with plenty of good food and things to be grateful for. We had a bit of a mixed bag – Little Man is still under the weather, and we’re all past the point of exhaustion, between moving house, work stress, etc. But we did have a nice day overall, and we have a lot to be thankful for this year.

This evening, I am embracing the holiday spirit. I have the Christmas channel playing on Pandora. I’m sitting in my own home, which is cozy and warm. There are a few inches of snow on the ground. I’ve got a gingerbread loaf baking in the oven – I’m trying a new recipe from Katie at the Kitchen Door that looks really promising. We’ll have that for breakfast tomorrow before we go over to Oney’s Tree Farm to pick out our Christmas tree. I’ve got most of the Christmas decorations up from the basement – we’re not 100% unpacked, and there’s still the living room wallpaper situation to deal with, but we are decorating! I couldn’t go through a holiday season without celebrating it; it just wouldn’t feel right to me.

But most of all I feel content, which I think can sometimes be a fleeting  state of affairs. So I think my holiday season is not only off to a good start, but the right start – and I hope yours is too.

A Little More Gingerbread

I came across Craft Gossip via a post by Not Martha today and discovered that Mighty Girl has an awesome post about Gingerbread Cities. Quite a string of hyperlinks, I know – but’s well worth checking out, especially the White House and the Eiffel Tower! Merry Christmas everyone!

Gingerbread Roundup

As an homage to the season, and as a reminder to you all that I haven’t forgotten you in the hustle and bustle (Christmas in a week!!? There’s still so much to do!) I thought I’d post a little roundup of nifty gingerbread things I’ve come across recently.

How to make a gingerbread house mug garnish (so cute!)

– “Half eaten” gingerbread man ornaments (wickedly fun)

“The Gingerbread Architect” by Susan Matheson (I wish I had the patience to build some of these designs!)

Martha Stewart’s Christmas Workshop: Gingerbread (some beautiful house designs)

An awesome photo of a gingerbread streetscape at Chicks & Gluesticks

An impressive array of gingerbread stuctures at Ultimate Gingerbread

A gingerbread Tardis (for all of you Dr. Who fans out there!)

Happy Holidays!

Start With the Bird

Thanksgiving will be a small affair this year – just myself, my husband and my husband’s grandfather. With a trio to feed, I can really focus on quality over quantity and that opens up a world of exciting possibilities for dinner, dessert and drinks. We’re not wedded to turkey at our house, so the first question in planning dinner is – will we have a bird?

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been wanting to do pheasant for Thanksgiving and now the cost doesn’t seem so daunting – one bird will certainly feed the three of us quite well. I’m going to roast it, but I’m not sure yet if I’ll roast it plain or flavor it in some way. I’ll have to page through my cookbooks and check out my favorite blogs to see what the options are. I’m also going to do a small ham, because I just love all things pork and I think it’s important to serve at least two meat dishes for holiday feasts. I’ll likely do a simple honey glaze and stud it with whole cloves for flavor.

For side dishes, I’ll do mashed potatoes with truffle oil, a simple herbed spaetzle, and chestnut bread stuffing. The bread stuffing will be a mix of light and dark rye bread – you just can’t beat the wonderful flavor. I also like to have something green on the table, so I might do a quick sautéed rainbow chard, as my husband has discovered this autumn that he likes chard quite a lot. It’s colorful and a nice change from kale or broccoli. And of course I’ll have a bowl of home made cranberry jelly on the table as well.

I’ll make up a small appetizer plate of smoked salmon, mixed olives, and cornichons to munch on during pre-dinner socializing. I might also do up a dozen or so shrimp for grilled shrimp cocktail with a home made horseradish cocktail sauce. Why not be a little indulgent?

For beverages, I’ll have a small bottle of my apple spice snaps for the dinner toast as well as a bottle of Longview Pinot Noir (my favorite winery in Michigan) that we’ve been saving for a special occasion. I think it will pair nicely with the roasted pheasant and honey-clove ham.

And of course, you can’t forget about dessert. I’m going to do a trio of breads – pumpkin, applesauce spice and probably gingerbread. I’m going to make them in mini loaf pans and send Grandpa home with some for the freezer.

For décor, I’ll keep it simple and fresh this year. I’ll use blue willow dishware and short café cups for the wine. I’m thinking of getting a simple woven tan table runner instead of a full tablecloth this year. And I’ll use half a dozen fresh gourds and a couple of short beeswax candles to decorate the table runner.

Now that I’ve got it all planned out, I can make my shopping list, clip my coupons and compile my recipes. This is the meal I most look forward to cooking each year (with Christmas dinner for my husband being a close second) and I think this year’s menu will be just delicious!